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Sinatra and the Book Pack
Steven M. Zeitchik -- 5/25/98
Vinny Rossi, owner of Golden Age Books &Music in Frank Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken, N.J., said he "d sn't want to cash in" on the Chairman's May 15 death because he feels "it would be an ethical problem." Many publishers apparently feel otherwise, frantically going back to press and hurrying titles before the tributes play out. A short list:
St. Martin's is rushing a title for June called All the Way: A Biography of Frank Sinatra by Michael Freedland ($27.50). The house bought it from a British publisher and had planned a 1999 pub date. But when Friday's news hit, the house decided to move up the date and add information about Sinatra's death. Running Press was similarly on the ball with Sinatra: A Life Remembered by Lew Irwin ($19.98), which was finished three months ago and held until Sinatra's death. Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra (General Publishing, $40) -- a bio sanctioned by the Sinatra family -- will see a re-release June 10, with material not included in the first edition.
Regnery has gone back to press with 40,000 copies of Sinatra: Portrait of an Artist by Ray Coleman ($29.95). The book, acquired from the now-defunct Turner Publishing, had been out of print since last October. Regnery had planned on doing author publicity but learned that Coleman had died the same morning they found out that Sinatra was dead -- which, according to a spokesperson, "kind of put a damper on things."
Three months ago, Time-Life Books, which can tap into the material of the Time Inc. magazines, had prepared Remembering Sinatra and is now releasing an initial 50,000-copy print run. Next month, BDD will release an audiobook called Sinatra: A Tribute ($16.99, two cassettes), which will be a "nonmusical oral portrait of Sinatra from his earliest career to his death," according to BDD spokesman Stuart Applebaum, and will include conversations the icon had with everyone from Martin Scorsese to Mia Farrow.
Less commercial houses, such as Oxford University Press, are swinging, too. The publisher has gone back to press with the paperback edition of The Frank Sinatra Reader ($16.95), edited by Steven Petkov and Leonard Mustazza.
According to Ingram, successful books already in print include Sinatra: Behind the Legend by J. Randy Taraborrelli (Birch Lane, $27.50); Kitty Kelley's paperback bestseller from 1986, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra (Bantam, $7.99), which sold out the 10,000 copies in stock and has gone back for a 25,000-copy printing; Random House's Sinatra: The Artist and the Man by John Lahr ($32.50); and HarperCollins's The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra &the Lost Art of Livin' by Bill Zehme ($23).
"There are a lot of books on Sinatra -- a couple of dozen," said Susie Russenberger, buyer for Ingram. "We're seeing demand, but not nearly to the degree of Princess Diana." No word yet on whether any Sinatra family members are planning anything new.
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